“What’s that Skip? I’ve forgotten your face mask?”

University of Canberra reminds people returning to campus to keep 1.5m from others, “that’s the size of one adult kangaroo,” (Twitter yesterday). But what about the handful of Uni Canberra people who don’t have their own skippy?

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Elizabeth Baré, Janet Beard and Teresa Tjia on securing sustainable savings in professional services.  Retrenching can save money in the short-term, but staff numbers bounce back. Rather than retrench universities should invest.

Andrew Harvey and Lisa Andrewartha (both La Trobe U) on welcoming defence forces veterans into high education. They bring unique strengths and perspectives that benefit the learning of all students. It’s this week’s essay in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series, needed know in teaching and learning.

Merlin Crossley on why rare isn’t always so special in science, education and film franchises.

Garry Carnegie and James Guthrie on why universities will worry about a better deal for casuals.

At Uni SA David Loyd is not taking the bait

“Mergers, it seems, are a bit like sharks, when you least expect it, they come swimming back to bite you,” Uni SA VC David Lloyd on new uni amalgamation speculation

But there’s only one species in the Torrens River the Great White Takeover, which wants to devour Uni Adelaide or Uni SA, depending on who you fish wish.

Sightings of the monster are regularly reported every few months but it hasn’t even looked like devouring a vice chancellor since 2018 talks between the two unis failed.

Professor Lloyd has long-suggested frying far bigger fish – creating an SA post-school system made up of two universities integrated with training (CMM yesterday). But not now. “Nothing is being explored, nothing is ‘afoot,’ he told UA staff yesterday, in response to press reports.

And as for bolting unis SA and Adelaide together, “In 2018 the exploration of the merit of merger played out on the public stage as never before, but it was the economics of the proposed model that put pay to its progression – not egos, not grandstanding – simply the inability of the business case to stack up,” he said.

Tehan goes the whole Mortein

The Education Minister tells Sky News the government could legislate the intent of its free speech code for universities.

Mr Tehan said if Sally Walker, now reviewing universities implementation of the Robert French code, said legislation is needed, “we will look very seriously at that.”

Which is pretty much what he said a year back (CMM June 19 2019).

It’s a great way to ensure the policy issues universities want on the agenda aren’t (CMM yesterday). As Mortien put it, “when you are on a good thing, stick to it”.

Charles Sturt U delivering doctors

The joint medical degree with Western Sydney U starts next year at CSU’s Orange campus

It’s good news for CSU in its heartland, with “students from rural and regional backgrounds strongly encouraged to apply.”

This is not the entirely independent Murray-Darling Medical School CSU and La Trobe U lobbied for long and hard but it is a new medical school in a region. As such it extends CSU’s academic standing and adds to its regional reputation. The core argument for the MDMS was that it was a great way to deal with the regional doctor shortage because medicos who train in the country stay there. It’s a credit to VC Andrew Vann, now on sabbatical, who campaigned and campaigned against universities who argued their med schools had regional training programmes that met the need.

No deal at Uni Newcastle

Yesterday was management’s deadline to reach agreement with unions on a deal to save some jobs by temporarily deferring pay rises 

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union says members will not wear cuts as well as job losses, “this is management having their cake and eating it too.”

On Friday Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky told the union that the salary savings proposed are the approximate equivalent of 120 jobs.

He added that the Community and Public Sector Union, which also has members on campus is still talking to management about an agreement.

This creates the opportunity for the university to put an enterprise agreement to an all-staff vote with the approval of one of the unions.

Then again, the last VC who tried this was Adam Shoemaker at Southern Cross U who proposed a savings deal supported by the CPSU and opposed by the NTEU – he lost, (CMM July 13).

There was no word from the university last night as to what’s next.

Griffith U loses staff vote (but only just)

A management plan to reduce COVID0-19 caused involuntary redundancies in return for a freeze on pay rises and temporary cuts to conditions is off

What happened: Professional staff, who are said to expect to cop the most redundancies were decisively in favour of the necessary variation to their enterprise agreement, 66 per cent were in favour, on a 69 per cent turnout. However, 55 per cent of the academics voting (56 per cent of those eligible) were nays.

The university had committed to proceeding only if both groups voted yes. A core part of the proposal was a freeze on pay-rises guaranteed in the enterprise agreements and Vice Chancellor Carolyn Evans says, “It would simply be unfair and inconsistent with Griffith’s values to have one group of staff receiving pay increases while the other did not.”

Where this came from: The National Tertiary Education Union opposed management’s proposal after talks on terms failed. Disagreements are said to have included a union call for a guarantee on no redundancies for the duration of an agreement. (CMM July 28). The NTEU also wanted management to agree to an independent committee, including union representatives to oversight management savings, which Professor Evans will not wear (CMM May 22).

More talks to come: Union and management are still stuck with each other. Professor Evans says the $10m the EA changes would have saved now adds to the other $44m in cuts management must make. “These salary savings will be realised in accordance with the provisions of the current Enterprise Agreements,” she says. This means management will have to consult with staff – and the NTEU.


Vanessa Lemm will be executive dean of Deakin U’s Faculty of Arts and Education in January. She moves from Flinders U.

Robert Solomon is Curtin U’s inaugural professor of practice in mining automation and data analysis at its WA School of Mines. The appointment is in partnership with Fortescue Metals.